Reviewer: hai2017 Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 26 Jun 2017 9:20 am Title: Chapter 1 - Hilda Surprises Mother Abbess

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Reviewer: wlp520 Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Nov 2016 1:16 am Title: Chapter 1 - Hilda Surprises Mother Abbess

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Reviewer: Fiona Mc Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 24 Nov 2014 9:21 am Title: Chapter 15 - Stars to Hold

I remember before I delivered Zack, I insisted Rod go with him if they had to take him to the special care nursery or worse, transport him to ICU. I made Rod promise he would stay with Zack regardless. My one thought was I didn't want him to go through any of that alone or even worse die alone. Fortunately he was okay and his trip to the special care nursery was a short one, but can understand Hilda's grief at not being there with them when they died and why she envies Kate for having had that, despite how painful it would have been.

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Aug 2011 12:40 pm Title: Chapter 18 - An inexplicable bond.

Mary, these last two chapters are so wonderful. Hilda has such a way with her - she makes you forget the pain she is in - both physical with that head and emotional, even while admitting to it. She sees all the deepest needs of those about her and goes out of her way to meet those needs. She even does things for others almost without realising she is doing them.

No wonder Kate, Ellie, Ian, Vivian, Patricia, and all the rest, love her so much - they can't help but do so. She gives of herself unceasingly, and wins over even the hardest of hearts.

Even as she delivers unwelcome news to Ellie, in the midsts of her great joy at the future promises, she manages to do it in such a way that the girl knows she's available, and that she will be there for her when needed.

Hilda couldn't do anything else, and as much as the rest involved may well try to protect her, so that she doesn't leave the convent even more worn out than she arrived, they won't be able to stop her doing what she knows is right. She has far too many answers for them - as she shows in her face off with Kate. No, she can't go to bed and rest, much as she would like to do so, not when she knows that delaying the time she needs to spend with Ellie will be the difference between a coping girl and an emotional explosion. And despite knowing that she ought to have that rest, the rest are well aware that it is better that she sandbag up Ellie first.

I'm so looking forwards to Hilda hearing what Kate has planned - and when Vivien gets to the convent, and everything else.

So much anticipation of the story you have weaved.

Thank you Mary :)

Reviewer: AnneM Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Aug 2011 11:29 am Title: Chapter 18 - An inexplicable bond.

I am awestruck at Hilda's ability to carry on when she's so physically and emotionally exhausted.

Thank you, Mary - I hope you're enjoying re-posting this as much as we are enjoying re-reading it.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Aug 2011 1:14 am Title: Chapter 18 - An inexplicable bond.

It is indeed rather amazing that in the space of less than one short week, this wonderful bond has sprung up between Hilda and Ellie. This is reflected in Ellie's request to learn more about Nell - to say nothing of Hilda's own willingness to explain. 

But Hilda has already noted that Ellie could develop a tendency to regard Hilda herself as her private property. It's only fair that she nips that in the bud without delay, but in such a way that Ellie immediately accepts the sense of what Hilda is suggesting without question.  Through it all runs a gentle thread of reassurance, which only builds on the trust Ellie already has in Hilda.

I really love Hilda's ardent prayer to Nell which forms the last paragraph - such a lovely way to ensure the latter is kept au fait with this new development in Hilda's life.  Also a lovely way to end this volume! 

Thank you, Mary, I'll be looking forward to the start of Volume 4.


Reviewer: Celia Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 19 Aug 2011 12:46 am Title: Chapter 18 - An inexplicable bond.

This must be a Christmas to remember for everyone at the convent,from the guests receiving their chocolates,through the nuns pleasure in their origami to the 'family' delight of Ellie, Hilda and MA. Yes, there had been sadness and confession during the day, but that was healing and cathartic.
Thank you Mary for sharing this experience with us, not once, but twice!

Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Aug 2011 10:06 pm Title: Chapter 18 - An inexplicable bond.

Thanks Mary.  Hoping that Ellie and Hilda can find their dreams, together and separately. 

Reviewer: Sarah Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 18 Aug 2011 1:16 pm Title: Chapter 17 - and a special one for Hilda.

Thank you, Mary. What more can I say?

Reviewer: Amira Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 18 Aug 2011 1:21 am Title: Chapter 1 - Hilda Surprises Mother Abbess

The gift for Sister Infirmarian is new, isn't it? I don't remember that from before. I do remember the joy that Hilda has in giving to others, Ellie's rapture at being a Chaletian and Sister Patricia's bogwood carving, all just as vivid here as the first time.

Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Aug 2011 11:51 pm Title: Chapter 17 - and a special one for Hilda.

Thank you Mary.  Hilda's power to help seems to grow as her physical strength weakens.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Aug 2011 10:14 pm Title: Chapter 17 - and a special one for Hilda.

Hmm - I did wonder if Pauline's book was an addition, but wasn't sure enough to suggest it!!!

There is no doubt that that very special picture will sustain Hilda not only through the time from now until she 'enters' but for the rest of her life.  What a wonderful thought from MA, and what an affirmation of Sister Patricia's very special artistic skill, too.

I'm not surprised that Hilda sometimes, as now, feels that she should not be delaying her entry to the convent - and yet, as she well knows, to do so would be to fail to complete what Nell wishes her to complete before entering.  I'm sure MA's quiet confidence that she is doing the right thing will help her there and I'm looking forward to finding out just what strategy she suggests for her daughter which will carry her through.

Of course Hilda will not give in to her very real need for rest until she has had chance to talk to Ellie again - yet one more proof, should we need it, that she never fails to put others' needs well ahead of her own. 

I find it very interesting, though in some ways not surprising, that seeing how the Sisters are all warming towards Hilda has affected MA's own feelings towards them. 

So much has happened in just a few short hours since MA started to tell her own story.  Thank you, Mary, for sharing all these memorable moments with us.



Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Aug 2011 12:51 am Title: Chapter 16 - Presents for All

I must admit that there were times, as I was reading - yes, and re-reading - this when I wondered, along with MA just how Hilda had found both the time and the energy to arrange for all these gifts.   Yes, given the trip to London, it was simple enough to arrange for the record-player and records, and it was just as well Vivien took Ellie off with her so that Hilda could purchase that lovely collection of French ones for her, as well as giving Ellie the chance to buy that special gift for Hilda!  But even arranging the Art competition and then creating the book of pictures and quotations took time and energy on Hilda's part, both of which were in short supply for her during those last weeks of term.  I don't doubt that Sister Pauline will treasure that for all time, just as Sister Patricia will treasure her special gift.  As for Ellie, she is clearly thrilled with all her gifts, but the prospect of going to the Chalet School surely outweighs them all!!!    And no, I fear I can't spot the addition, either - it's all so seamless, as Squirrel points out.

Thank you, Mary, for allowing us to witness this wonderful gift giving session - I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels as if she was physically present in MA's study during it.


Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 16 Aug 2011 10:48 pm Title: Chapter 16 - Presents for All

Thank you.  I could not spot the additions,

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 16 Aug 2011 9:38 pm Title: Chapter 16 - Presents for All

That was wonderful! How you can ask us to guess the addition I have no idea, it fitted in so seamlessly - and the wonderful details are such that there is much I have forgotten.

I know the record player and records were there in the original, and that the bogwood was as well. Not that I could have told you without reading this passage, but I remembered those fairly clearly. Hilda lavishing her wonderful generosity over everyone as always - and is such a wonderful way where she is able to pick the perfect gift for each person. She isn't simply caring, she's so perceptive as well.

I love the way that Hilda does battle with each of the Sisters. Despite their horror at how much she has already given them, they Will accept the other gifts she has come up with for them. I just love the banter about the Sound of Music and how much it could help the Sisters deal with MA. Or MA deal with Hilda!!! As for that picture book for SI. What exquisite thought. I'm sure it would be much admired, and thought to be of great help to all. What a perfect way for it to be produced as well.

I do wonder what gifts the Sisters have for Hilda though. I'm sure there wouldn't be quite such secrecy over something for Ellie!

There are so many other things I could comment on, but I think I had better leave it for the moment!

Thank you for sharing! :)

Reviewer: Celia Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 16 Aug 2011 10:58 am Title: Chapter 15 - Stars to Hold

There is room in our hearts for many loving friends. MA and Hilda are now so closely linked by their shared loss,
grief and compassion that I feel they will stay friends for ever, no matter what life throws at them in the future.
More thought provoking quotes from the 'Little Prince' and another chapter
the writing of which draws us right into the office to share their love, and that lovely warming fire ! Thank you as ever Mary.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Aug 2011 10:25 pm Title: Chapter 15 - Stars to Hold


You’ve taken your place beside Nell in my heart. Together, you shine the
light of your souls on me and give me stars to hold, that I may never again lose my way.

If MA entertained any doubts about her place in Hilda's affections, that sentence, and indeed the entire dedication must have dispelled them once and for all.  The relationship between the two of them is surely a very special one.  I love the way MA uses the text of The Little Prince as she endeavours to convince Hilda, yet again, that even though Nell is gone from her sight, her presence will remain with her until they are reunited in death as they were in life.  

I'm sure that Hilda will never forget this entire Christmas Day conversation - and neither will we.  Thank you, Mary, for allowing us to witness it. 


Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Aug 2011 10:12 pm Title: Chapter 15 - Stars to Hold

Thank you Mary.  The ongoing prescence of a loved one can be reasuring, but can be scary as well.  Hilda and MA certainly know the heights and the depths.

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Aug 2011 9:09 pm Title: Chapter 15 - Stars to Hold

What a wonderful way for this section to draw to a close Mary. It allows for more of their loving teasing, and gentle friendship. The way Hilda uses The Little Prince to show how much Kate has touched her heart, despite the harsh realities of the world that she is living in. And no, Kate will never be a substitute for Nell, that wouldn't be possible, but she is one that Hilda will be able to allow to walk through the pain with her.

I'm sure that Hilda will need the words that Kate spoke to her about how the empty shells mean nothing at some point in the future, and that both of the participants in this mother-daughter chat will benefit from the time spent together.

Thank you for sharing it with us Mary.

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 15 Aug 2011 3:57 pm Title: Chapter 14 - The Tale Continues

Now... here's one of those most delightful joys of reading ND, and rereading it... It reminds us how human everyone we come across is...

It's so tempting, when we first meet someone, not to realise all that must have gone into making them who they are, everything which caused them to present the face they show to each and every individual. Kate, the confident, guiding MA, it is so easy to take the image that she shows to the world and imagine that she must have had a life of ease, that she has spent all her days in the convent, taking from God to give to those in need. And yet, here she is, bearing her soul to Hilda, telling her of so many horrors she has been through, all that has made her the person she now is.

It's so incredibly rare for us to learn these kinds of details, and yet, speaks so much of trust when we are told them.

I believe this section of ND, and the previous one, teach us to remember to look beyond the obvious, to not allow others to hide behind the mask, but to remember that every person has faced tragedy in one way or another, and to accept that we may never know what those tragedies are, but that we must walk carefully as we go, in case we might unconsciously cause hurt.

Thank you Mary, for teaching us life lessons in such a wonderful way.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Aug 2011 3:06 am Title: Chapter 14 - The Tale Continues

Now that Hilda knows the story of MA's own life, she can better understand the special feeling her own suffering has aroused in MA, and why MA immediately experienced such a special affinity with her.  I know that this relationship will only deepen and grow as the years go by, not only in the immediate future, but even more after Hilda enters the convent.

Thank you, Mary - above all for that lovely sensation of peace with which this scene closes.



Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 Aug 2011 7:19 pm Title: Chapter 14 - The Tale Continues

These two powerful women are really "anam cara" to each other. They need the support of other to continue to fulfil their roles.  Thanks Mary

Reviewer: Celia Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 14 Aug 2011 2:42 am Title: Chapter 13 - Mother Abbess Tells her Tale

Great quotes Mary. Now Hilda and MA are bound together by their knowledge of each other in grief and love, and by God. Your writing of the story MA had to tell is riviting....even second time around. Thank you.

Reviewer: MHE Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 13 Aug 2011 10:01 am Title: Chapter 13 - Mother Abbess Tells her Tale

Ohh wow Mary, I’d forgotten just how gut wrenching MA’s own story is and like Pauline, I too needed my hanky – in fact more than one!  That said, the fact that Hilda had realised something was amiss with Mother Abbess, shows just how close and aware of each other’s pain they have become in what is a comparatively short space of time. 
The hours that they have spent in each other’s company have certainly forged a very special bond between them.  That bond, and the trust that each has in the other has allowed Mother Abbess to share her own story and pain with Hilda.  Having been through such a devastating loss herself it is no wonder that she understands just how deep Hilda’s grief is for Nell and how that grief affects her – but also, she is able to show Hilda that there is a way through the grief, and that, although the road may be long and hard she will be able to travel it, and that she is not alone on that journey.  
Thank you Mary, for allowing us to be present during this revelation of MA’s own heartache through the power of your words.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 13 Aug 2011 2:08 am Title: Chapter 13 - Mother Abbess Tells her Tale


Having opened themselves utterly to each other, having received total acceptance from each other, they were now as close as two people could be, hearts and minds in perfect accord - an accord Hilda thought she had lost forever with the loss of Nell.

However much Hilda may have originally doubted Mother Abbess' assertion that their relationship was a two-way street, she certainly knows now that this really is the case.  Only to Hilda could MA have poured out this story of her years of suffering and rebellion, anger and grief before she finally found peace and the love of God - it is a sign of that special bond between them that Hilda was so swift to recognise at Mass that all was not well with MA.  At the same time, hearing MA's account may do more than anything else can to bring Hilda to the realisation that she, too, will eventually find the path through her grief journey. 

Thank you, Mary, we were privileged to be present at this truly revealing conversation.

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